It's like I'm at some party. I don't really know anyone here, and have managed to find niche and nook in the peripheral of groups, but I'm not engaging in any conversation and am drinking too fast. I'm nervous. Sleep is here. I caught a glimpse when I first arrived, and that was all it took. That one hard thump in my chest, and that shrinkage in my longer bones, and the party was doomed. At once devastated and ecstatic knowing I breathed the same air, inhabited the same space. Julius Caesar could have been present and I wouldn't have noticed. I've eyes only for Sleep.
Sleep doesn't even know I'm here. I force myself to remain, in this room, with this conversation about who knows what I'm not listening, because as much as I want to follow Sleep from room to room, I don't want to be some sad puppy dog chasing coat tails. It's enough to acknowledge the wreckage the sight of Sleep has done to me.
I watch as Sleep passes by the door, moving down the corridor, arms linked with some other man.
Another hard thump in my chest, further shrinkage in my bones. I can taste my jealousy, and wash my mouth with the last of my drink.
Someone else following Sleep pauses at the door, their gaze lingering and yearning. They turn and enter the room.
Oshitoshitoshit it's Insomnia. And there's an empty seat next to me.
I angle my body away, towards the group I'm not a part of, which helps not a bit. Insomnia makes a bee line for me, flops down heavily and too close and starts sounding off right away. Awkward sentences. Observations intended to be witty and clever but come off as try hard. Nervous laughter.
I feel like a toad, but I can't be seen with Insomnia, oh gods, imagine if Sleep saw me with Insomnia, it'd be a death sentence, a lifetime rejection. Not that it matters, Sleep is off somewhere sleeping with that man, but I can't, I really can't. I mutter something and get up, striding away with purpose and the illusion of direction.
I catch a glimpse of Sleep, lounging against a banister, one hand on a girl's arm. Thump. Shrink. Fuck. Keep moving.
There's a spare bench on the patio, and I slide on, giving those others at the table a nod. They read my posture, the jumpy dart of my eyes. One of them obliges and sits up, hiding me further.
Insomnia is not so green a hunter, and barrels out of the house with too much self-conscious bluster. A chair is snagged, steel legs screeching over the ground, and pulled up again much too close. Again, the prattle, the chatter, the inane comments that have no malice behind them but are so thoughtless as to be war-starting offensive. I give the others an apologetic shrug. Insomnia's embarrassing and embarrassed miasma chokes the patio. The group says something about it getting cold, and head inside. I follow.
There is Sleep, disappearing into a bathroom, pulling someone by the hand.
And this way, I destroy the entire party. With every passing encounter with Sleep, seeing that who I desire making out with every single other person present, bitterness hardens my joints and sets the line of my mouth. I sit myself at still other groups, knowing full well I bring about their doom as Insomnia, the one person I actively dislike, follows in my wake. The atmosphere is destroyed. People are leaving. I'm running out of cover. I run out of cover.
I sit on the couch where I started, staring at the carpet, and Insomnia talks to me. That voice is wearing away at my core, chiseling away the veneer of civilisation and polished manners, and fury raises its head to make a fitting companion of bitterness.
I tell myself this is fine. This entire situation is just fine. Sleep can go sleep with all the strays in the world. I don't care. Really. This is my choice.
I don't go as far as to make eye contact with Insomnia.
I'm fine. Really. I like it this way. I mean, I'm used to it. This is the way parties like this usually pan out, you know, I have a pathetic awkward loser magnet. People seem to think I want to listen. They just want to hear themselves talk, and need a cover. And Sleep, I mean, pfft. Who'd want that? Town bicycle, you know.
Insomnia never shuts up.
Five hours later, I'm in tears, but I can't leave, and Insomnia never shuts up. I'm on the verge, no, I am going to scream, the intent is there, the air is there, and Sleep walks into the room, nods at Insomnia, and holds out a hand.
I hate Sleep. I need Sleep. I'm starved and desperate and I take that hand without even the pretense of reluctance and let Sleep do away with me.
A couple of hours later, my alarm goes off. The bed is empty. Sleep is gone.